Mayor says HST stance might be premature

Mayor David Anderson thinks council will need more information if it is to take a stance on the coming Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) that will blend the federal GST with the provincial PST.

Minto considered a resolution from the Town of Innisfil regarding the HST as it affects electricity rates as of July 2010.

Anderson said “I’ve had some pretty extensive conversations with our local MPP John Wilkinson. One of the things in this harmonization of retail sales tax, the GST and PST, is that an awful lot of the rules and regulations are not in place at this time, and it hasn’t been indicated directly on how it’s going to happen.”

He noted Minto Treas­urer Gord Duff has been to a couple of seminars on the issue “but they keep changing the game plan. It’s an issue that we are going to have to deal with, but right now I really believe we do not have enough information, to support some of these resolutions coming through.”

He noted there was another resolution in the council package that night from another municipality. It, too, asked that the province not proceed with the HST.

“Again, I really think it’s premature for us to support these resolutions until we really know the overall impact of what the HST is bringing forth,” Anderson said.

He said what seems to be happening is the local user and tax payer would be paying GST and PST on all services, whether it be hydro or gas.

“So the users would be paying more for the services,” Anderson said. “But there would be industrial tax breaks to make industry more appealing to move to Ontario to operate … which would generate more jobs.

“If you look at the big picture, more jobs, more work, more money coming into the municipality. It’s really a juggling act,” Anderson said.

He noted that the provincial government is still in summer recess, and the issue really falls under the Minister of Finance portfolio.

He asked to defer a decision until the municipality gets better direction on what the rules and regulations will be.